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A. The Facts about Bipolar Disorder

Narrator: This is Science Today. It's estimated that over two million Americans are affected by bipolar disorder - a serious brain illness characterized by extreme shifts in mood, energy and functioning - from a manic state to a depressed state. Dr. Adam Travis, a psychologist at the University of California, San Francisco, says estimates of the illness are probably conservative, since up to seventy-five percent of cases go untreated.

Travis: Effective treatments exist, but unfortunately often the illness is not recognized either by the patient initially or by providers. Often times it's misdiagnosed and untreated, the symptoms tend to worsen. Fifteen to twenty percent of untreated cases end in suicide.

Narrator: While the disease is genetic for the most part, it's not one hundred percent.

Travis: It suggests there are other factors. There are psychological and social factors and maybe other biological factors that contribute to the development of the disorder.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.